Korean Air, which took a 44% stake in SkyTeam partner CSA Czech Airlines in April 2013, has sold its share to Czech charter company Travel Service.

Travel Service already owned 34% of the Czech republic flag carrier and local reports say it has also acquired the almost 20% stake that the Czech Republic held in CSA, meaning Travel Service now holds 98% of the airline.

Neither CSA nor Travel Service responded requests for comment.

When Korean took its stake in CZA, it helped save the Czech airline from bankruptcy. The carrier reported a 2016 net income of CZK241 million ($9.4 million), up 8% from a CZK223 million profit a year ago.

In 2016, Czech Airlines carried 2.26 million passengers on its scheduled services. Travel Service transported 1.7 passengers in the first six month of 2017 and operates scheduled flights under the SmartWings brand. It also has subsidiaries in Slovakia, Poland and Hungary.

Travel Service, which is the Central and Eastern European launch operator for the Boeing 737 MAX 8, is scheduled to start taking deliveries of 30 direct-purchased and leased 737 MAX aircraft from 2018.

Kurt Hofmann, hofmann.aviation@netway.at